Marques Johnson is transferring

Tennessee basketball player Marques Johnson, who has not played since Game 4 against Coppin State, has decided to transfer to another school. He did not suit up for Saturday night's game against ETSU.

Johnson, a 6-5 freshman guard from Fort Wayne, Ind., played 45 minutes in the first four games. He hit 2 of 8 field goal tries (25 percent), 1 of 3 from 3-point range (33.3 percent), 3 of 5 from the foul line (60 percent) and totaled 8 points, 5 assists and 6 turnovers.

When junior Jordan Howell recovered from a preseason hand injury, he replaced Marques Johnson as the backup point guard behind Ramar Smith. Johnson did not see action again, even after Howell suffered another hand injury Dec. 20 that is expected to sideline him until late January.

Tennessee's coaches were hoping to redshirt Johnson, so he would have four years of eligibility left when the 2007-08 season starts. Johnson decided against that option, however, and announced Saturday that he plans to find another school.

Head coach Bruce Pearl termed Johnson's unhappiness with his lack of playing time "something I've been dealing with since the Christmas break," adding that he is "very disappointed" by the player's decision to transfer.

A statement released by the UT sports information office quoted Johnson as saying: "I wish the best of luck to the team and Coach Pearl. This just wasn't the best situation for me at this time. I just needed a change."

The same release offered this comment from Pearl:

"Marques wants to go to a situation where he can have an opportunity for more playing time. We want what is best for him and will help him find a situation that he believes will be a good fit for him."


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